EDF 5: The best coop game ever made?

Earth Defence Force, or more commonly known as EDF, is a series of games from Japanese company D3 Publisher. Known in Japan as Chikyū Bōeigun, there have already been six games in the main story, with four spinoffs. Sadly we are still playing EDF 5 because EDF 6 has only just come out, and isn’t in English. The game looks like it was cobbled together by some tired developers after a cocaine fuelled karaoke night. Those developers are known as Sandlot and deserve a medal. Or a shotgun to the back of the head.


The story, if one can be so bold, couldn’t get more simple. Earth picks up alien signals from outer space… Earth musters defence, aliens attack. Repeat as many times as you want. That’s it. EDF in a nutshell. Actually, that’s not true. I do it a disservice by leaving out some of the most painfully ridiculous writing you’re ever likely to hear. Seriously, it dials up the cringe to NUCLEAR. I’ve played the game so many times, but I still reel at how bloody stupid some of the lines are. It literally has me wondering whether they deliberately did it. They have to have. That, or the translations from Japanese to English were done by someone with a rudimentary grasp of BOTH languages. Also, they don’t even call the very obviously Kaijus… Kaijus! Instead they name things like ants… Alphas… What?!

And yet I can’t stop playing it! The graphics are trash. Polygons seen in the first Starfox back in 1993 are the norm. The game slows down to a crawl when too much happens on screen. The controls are stickier than a Winnie the Poo Bukkake session, and I still play on! Why?! What is it about this mess of a game that makes use sink hundreds of hours in?

The hours, the hours

EDF makes you work for the game. I swear, it must be a front for some crypto currency, bitcoin mining operation. Not only are there over 100 levels to complete, each taking anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes, but if you want to actually unlock the nice weapons, you have to complete the game with 70% unlocked. That means that each of the 4 classes, Ranger, Wing Diver, Lancer and air Raider, need to complete the game. On each difficulty level. That’s 4 difficulty levels. It’s maddening! And yet we play on!

Hardcore stalwarts

I like to think of the Ladz, the name of our online gaming session, as hardcore. We’ve been around the block, blown it up, reloaded the level, and blown it up again! We’ve sunk hundreds of hours in, and we’re still only halfway to the elusive 70% weapon unlock. But there are others. Others that make Gandalf look young. Others that make the moon appear to be in its infant stages. They’re the 100 percenters. And we look at them with veneration. We enter a lobby, and can see them. Sitting, alone, in an Inferno level room. I say alone, because there are usually only 8 or so rooms available in the lobby.

The ancients

There are the ancients, three of four of them, who sit in the lobby. Waiting for those deemed worthy enough to enter. And when we do get to jam with them, it’s like touching heaven. Their power, their lasers, their MASSIVE WEAPONS! One touch of this holy place, and you’ll suddenly get over the fatigue and PTSD that 400 hours and playing with Wayne has given you. And on the horizon, some 200+ hours off, where the massive weapons lie, seems reachable. This is when it gets messy though. Because someone, some righteous and easily manipulated poor sod (Andre), will have to now complete the game on 70%, for the betterment of the whole team. They’ll have to slog it out over 400 levels, using all the characters, all the difficulty options, to get that unlock. We’ll be there to support him though. But, who is ‘we’?

The Ladz

In the case of the Ladz, it’s made up of 3 men and a waifu. First off, it’s the Rambo Ranger, that’s me, Nick.

Rambo Ranger

‘You may be wondering how I got here…’

As the ranger I have access to the most versatile weapons in EDF 5. The best technology that the EDF scientists have come up with! That means that 90% of them are useless shit, and the other 10% made up of rockets, assault rifles and missile launchers are useful.

I like the Ranger as he’s diverse, has good armour, moves quickly, and has some frigging powerful, long range weapons. He’s the ‘everyman’ for the game, and is the easiest to start with. He can also sprint, and roll, to get out of hairy situations. At higher levels, the ones of legend, he has a frigging “LAZER” that I can only currently use when playing with players who have a completion of over 70%.

Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini Wingdiver

There will be more armour, right?

The Wingdiver was chosen to carry all of us to the 70% finish line. He/she/it/wing had no say in the matter. Currently she’s stuck in a web somewhere.

Air Raider (What’s that in the air?)

You are nothing but an insect to be crushed under my heel!” – M. Bison

When I first started this class back in EDF 4 I thought it was the weakest, with the limpet gun having a pathetic rate of fire lobbing weak grenades. You have a paltry selection of turrets and air strikes. But as you progress you unlock slow and lumbering mechs which becomes bigger, faster and deadlier. Satellite laser weapons that straight up rips the idea from various anime (Akira for one) and melts all before it. Plus, cruise missiles that’ll shame America’s budget. It comes to the point where if you call down fire from above, your teammates scatter like the ants you are fighting. All alone you’re a bit vulnerable. Till your support weapons are fully charged. Then you’re like a crazy version of Tony Stark, on crack. Also, your mates can use your mechs if you have an extra one ready to go. Now that’s support!

Fencer: Building walls between bugs and their lives

EDF 5 Fencers are slow. Like ‘dead sloth wading through treacle’ slow. So you just waddle out into the open and act like bait. You don’t need to pull off crazy reflexes to dodge. Or manage your power supply or be ‘that guy’. You now. The one who didn’t even bring a weapon and has to drunk call his buddies at 2 am to get him out of shit. You just stand there because you are not locked in this battle field with the enemy. They are locked in here with you.

In fact, the fencer is such a big bastard, he needs his own blog to describe him! Read it here.

And there you have it. Possibly one of the best game of our generation. A game so lose in its creation, but so tight in its similarity to crack cocaine that we can’t put it down. The promise of new weapons, of childlike dialogue and of punching a Kaiju in the face with a Jager is just too much for middle aged men. Add alcohol into the mix and you are sure to have an evening of swearing at your mates because they don’t give two figs if you are flying across the map while bleeding out. The fact you can annoy the hell out of them by singing while you lie unconscious is an added bonus.

I give EDF 5 a solid


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All the series and all the movies couldn't put society back together again.